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The Magic Of Removing One’s Ego From The Battle

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Seinfeld’s Uncle Leo had a penchant for blaming others’ real or imagined trespasses on being engineered by anti-Semites.

The accomplished trial warrior wastes little or no time dwelling on others’ real or imagined trespasses, bigotry, or unfairness, no matter the source. Wasting such time interferes with our defense of our clients, who have a lot more riding on their cases than being offended or seeing the bigotry that continues being too present in society. If bigotry might be harming or threatening our clients, that must be addressed head-on, of course.

The courthouse is the battlefield that a trial lawyer chooses, and it is folly for a trial lawyer to expect that trial work will be anything akin to the rarefied atmosphere of arguing before appellate courts. Of course, plenty of appellate court oral arguments — particularly in the United States Supreme Court — can get particularly bruising. The fully prepared and capable trial and appellate lawyer deftly dances around hornets’ nests that can otherwise sting badly. The ego-obsessed lawyer dwells on the hornets’ nest, the lawyer’s fear of the nest, and the lawyer’s upset that the nest is there in the first place. The accomplished trial lawyer takes the hornets’ stings that cannot be avoided, firebombs the remaining hornets as needed, and moves on in the battle.

We all come from the same source, so even the most evil and uncaring seeming prosecutor, judge or police officer at one time or another will offer the criminal defense lawyer a great opportunity, and we can also simply create the opportunity for ourselves. That opportunity must be correctly recognized and perceived, and timely seized before it disintegrates into thin air.

Enough is going on in any battlefield that we do not need to make ourselves additional obstacles to accomplish what we want to accomplish. Fear of failure, anger at the opponents’ attitude, and disappointment in teammates and with clients all are obstacles to winning. The successful warrior battles in the moment and understands the folly and harm from letting any obstacle make the fighter lose focus on victory.

Our greatest opponent and obstacle to victory often is our ego and ourselves. When we remove our egos and self-centeredness from the battle, then the magic of powerfully successful performance can begin.